Climate AI startup Pathways raises $2.5M to decarbonize building materials

Feb 28, 2024

ai construction
ai construction
ai construction

Pathways, an AI-driven sustainability platform which enables manufacturers to measure and reduce building material emissions, has raised $2.5 million in a pre-seed funding round led by Pi Labs and Zacua Ventures. Other investors included Blue Lion Global, Positive Ventures, Jetstream, Refashiond, Great Wave Ventures and Anglet. The round was oversubscribed by $1.5 million. 

Building materials are a key driver of greenhouse gas emissions, and the construction industry is under increasing pressure to build sustainably. As a result, regulators, developers and contractors are increasingly requiring environmental disclosures from material manufacturers including Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) – 20-40 page summaries of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) which constitute a verified assessment of a building material’s environmental impact.

Pathways has built an AI-enabled platform to automate the creation of real-time LCAs and EPDs for material manufacturers. Currently, LCAs and EPDs are still manually created which is costly, complex, imprecise, and slow, taking around 6-12 months. Pathways is solving these issues, enabling EPDs to be automatically generated by ingesting data from a customer’s IT infrastructure around raw materials inputs, transportation to site and manufacturing processes. By maintaining data integrations, Pathways makes it easy to identify emissions hotspots and track reduction progress, furthering Pathways' wider mission to help decarbonise the manufacturing process.

Pathways was co-founded in 2022 by Harvard classmates Leise Sandeman, a former McKinsey consultant who scaled a venture in material recycling, and Alex Cooper, who has spent the last decade scaling startups including Uber, Clutter and Two Chairs.

The New York-based startup counts Stella-Jones, North America's premier provider of pressure treated wood products, amongst its first customers.

Pathways' Co-Founder Leise Sandeman said: "Our mission is to help material manufacturers decarbonise, building out the data-layer for sustainable construction by generating LCAs and EPDs across product categories leveraging our AI-enabled platform.

“The construction industry is under pressure by both building owners and operators to record and report on LCAs, and regulatory bodies are increasingly scrutinising the industry. Companies are required to report more than ever - to higher standards than ever before. Right now, too many companies have to engage expensive consultants, spend hours manually calculating their EPD data, or worse, don’t track this data at all. Our AI-driven software addresses these challenges, helping manufacturers measure and ultimately cut their total carbon footprint.

“We are thrilled to be supported by Pi Labs, Zacua Ventures and our other investors. This round will allow us to accelerate our mission, expanding our engineering and sales team.”

Faisal Butt, Founder and Managing Partner, Pi Labs, said: "Given approximately 11% of the real estate sector’s greenhouse gas emissions are generated by manufacturing materials such as steel and cement, selecting the right building materials will be key to the industry’s decarbonisation efforts.

“Material manufacturers failing to comply with evolving regulations, or spending a disproportionate amount of time on the complex paperwork required to prove compliance, run the risk of significantly impacting corporate sustainability goals – Pathways solves this problem.

“We saw from our 12th Growth Programme that Leise and Alex are a powerhouse founding team and we’re very excited about the growth potential of Pathways, with its plans to expand from building materials into other product categories including furniture. With this being our first completed deal from this year’s Growth Programme, we start 2024 continuing to make ESG-focused investments which combine our commitment to both sustainability in the built environment and pushing the boundaries of technology innovation.”

Rhiannah Carver, Senior Director, Sustainability at Stella-Jones, a leading North American producer of industrial pressure-treated wood products, said: “Sustainability is central to our business, and it is a responsibility for us as a manufacturer of infrastructure products across Canada and the United States. Working with innovative technologies like Pathways’ platform helps us stay at the forefront of sustainability by generating product-level life-cycle analysis and improving visibility into emissions and environmental impacts along our value chain.”

Measure and reduce building material emissions. AI-powered creation of Buy-Clean and EU compliant Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)


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